Even though he's hasn't played a single second yet this season, Amar'e Stoudemire continues to be one of the most talked about players on the entire New York Knicks team.
Unfortunately, it's for all the wrong reasons.
The debate of "Should STAT Start?" upon his inevitable return has been the hottest topic in New York for awhile now, and most people view it more like an ominous cloud that's destined to extinguish any and all chemistry that this incredibly hot team has built.
In addition, head coach Mike Woodson's recent comments (or lack thereof) about Stoudemire's role upon returning probably doesn't bode well for New York's $100 million man.
According to ESPN, after another convincing victory against the depleted Hornets squad Tuesday night, Woodson had this to say when asked if Stoudemire still had a starting spot.
“I’m going to address that when we get to that point," Woodson said. “Right now I’m just taking it a day at a time and work the guys we have in uniform."
It's not earth-shattering news to say the least, but the clock is ticking, and it does raise a few eyebrows over whether or not Woodson is still confident that this team would be better with STAT in his usual starting role. Just the fact that Woody seemed to slightly avoid the subject suggests that maybe Stoudemire isn't the sure-fire starter that he once was.
Now, with this Knicks team at 8-1 on the season, Stoudemire may be the odd man out upon returning.
Let's also not forget that Carmelo Anthony and STAT has failed to build any kind of chemistry since they joined forces a little over a season ago. The Knicks have a losing record with both men in the starting rotation but were 6-1 after Woodson took over last season.
Plus, Melo's strong showing in his new PF role has to be taken into consideration as well. If this team continues to win like this, then moving their franchise player to another role seems a bit silly to say the least.
Woodson has stated in the past that no player loses his starting spot due to injury, and he does have confidence that Melo and STAT can work out their differences and become a pretty dynamic duo.
"As a coach, I feel good about both of them playing on the floor at the same time," Woodson said. "That’s not going to change."
Maybe Woody is the guy who can turn this whole thing around and make this work.
There's no denying that, when healthy, Stoudemire is one of the most talented players in the entire league. Plus, with Raymond Felton back in NY, it's possible him and Stoudemire can rediscover some of that old pick-and-roll magic that made the Knicks one of the most promising teams in the NBA over a year ago.
Just having him back in his jersey will be beneficial to this team's continued success, plain and simple.
The only question is, will STAT be contributing more as a starter, or as a very expensive sixth or seventh man?
Don't ask Woodson. Even he doesn't seem to have an answer, but sooner or later, he's going to be the one to make the decision.